Adapting Communication for Different Audiences

Adapting Communication for Different Audiences

How should your communication style adapt to different audiences?

By Carl Stanford

One of the keys to communicating effectively is to be able to tailor your communication to your audience. This can be done in various ways, and if done correctly will allow you to engage your audience quickly and with the optimum results.

Know your audience

In business, you’ll communicate with a variety of different people in many different ways. These may include: marketing, networking, staff meetings, client and supplier meetings, disciplinary procedures, as well as communicating with regulators or government agencies.

In each situation, your communication will have certain goals and your aim will be to achieve these goals as effectively as possible. if you are speaking to a room full of colleagues, you can use jargon and company ideals to present your idea. However, if you are presenting to a room full of potential customers, this might not convert into sales.

Communication objectives

It is vital to think about the objectives of each communication, as this will help you design your message. You can then take what you already know about the audience to anticipate their reactions and tailor your message, tone and medium.

Whenever you communicate with an audience, you should be measuring and assessing their reaction, whether that’s in terms of sales, enquiries, leads or even direct feedback. Each time you do this, you’ll learn more about what works and what doesn’t. You’ll then be able to refine your next communication with that audience to better meet your objectives.

Every audience is different

If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your communication with various audiences, be aware of the different approaches. For example, a joke in the office might be inappropriate when dealing with a customer. On the other hand, the formal tone of a client negotiation will be inappropriate when chatting with colleagues.

Failing to modify your communication style to the audience can result in confusion, misunderstanding and even offence. It's a risk that's not worth taking, so take care with all of your communication, especially in business.